Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tango & Malbec

Two weeks ago was my wedding anniversary.  So my wife and I decided to try a new restaurant.  We had spotted Tango & Malbec a couple of times while driving through the Galleria area and were intrigued by its name.  My wife is a big fan of malbec wines.  Tango & Malbec is a South American steakhouse.  While a little on the pricey side (special occasion type of restaurant), the food and atmosphere were well worth it.  I did make reservations, but when we got there it did not seem as if we needed them.  There was plenty of seating available.  The dining area was warm and inviting.  The lights were dimmed to set the perfect mood for a romantic night out.  We were seated close to the open staging area.  What I mean to say is there was a big opening where the waiter would pick up plates from the kitchen and we could look into and see the guys working over the grills.

The first thing that the waiter brought to our table was a bowl of different types of bread and house made chips with a smaller bowl of chimichurri sauce. The chips were exquisite. They were nice and crispy without being burnt or hard.  The chimichurri was equally as good having a nice balance of tang from the vinegar, eathiness from the herbs, and sweetness from the sugar.  They both played very well with each other. The bread was just your standard sliced baguette, some small bread sticks and some sliced parmesan bread.  Good, but nothing spectacular.

While looking over the menu, my wife and I decided to order a bottle of wine.  We got the Humberto Canale Estate '11, which is of course, a malbec.  This was a very robust wine that was good right out of the bottle but really opened up once you let it breath a bit in your glass.  Our waiter was also very good about keeping my wife's glass filled.  I was taking my time with it, so I did not need as many fill ups.  The wine also made for a fine accompaniment of our dinner.

Before we placed our order, the waiter informed us of the specials for the night. The thing is, he did not just tell us about it, he showed us.  An assistant and he brought forth a very large butcher's block filled with various types and cuts of meat ranging from a filet mignon, to a dry aged ribeye, to a couple of tomahawk steaks. In the end, we decided to order something off the menu.

As a started we decided to go with the ceviche.  The ceciche was fresh fish and shrimp cooked in lemon juice and jalapenos and topped with some avocados and freshly made tortilla chips.  The fish had a very fresh taste.  It was very citrusy with some kick from the jalapenos.  The shrimp had good flavor, but was a little rubbery as if it had be overdone slightly.  Still, the ceviche was a nice way to start our meal.

For our main course, my wife and I decided to order the Como En El 50, which is a sort of sampler plate for two.  It comes with skirt steak, lamb chops, tenderloin, short ribs, sausage and blood sausage as well as accompanied by grilled vegetables.  My wife and I also decided to order a side of fried yuccca.

The meat was served on a metal served platter with hot coal underneath it and place in the middle of the table where my wife and I could serve ourselves.  We were both given a plate with our accompanying vegetables.

The vegetables were prepared with the utmost care and respect they deserve.  They were flavorful and tender without being mushy and overcooked.  The yucca was also very good.  It was the perfect starchy compliment to our mostly meaty meal.  Like well made fries, the yucca was crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  

The meat, of course, was the star of this dinner show.  Given so many options it was difficult to know where to start.  We started with the black sausage.  My wife was a little hesitant about it, but I told her to be adventurous.  The sausage had a very mild flavor with an almost boudain like quality to it in texture.  Next we moved on the the normal sausage which was also very good.  Next I tried the tenderloin. It was cooked just as I like my meat, medium rare.  The meat was very well seasoned, moist and tender.  The flank steak was equally as good.  

The two meat that really shined were the lamb chops and the spare rib.  My wife described the lamb chop as possibly the best she's ever had.  It was moist and tender without any gamyness to it.  It was so good, we were both gnawing on the bone.  We both know you are not really supposed to do that in public, but screw it.  It was that good.  The spare rib was incredible.  The meat had a buttery quality that was beyond description.  My only fault with it was that there was not more of it. There was, however, plenty of food to go around.  My wife and I both had our fill and still had enough to take home to make steak and eggs for breakfast the next morning. 

In just in case we were not stuffed to the gills on delicious meat, Tango & Malbec threw in a complimentary dessert.  I had mentioned when I made our reservation that it was our anniversary, so I guess they decided to add some tres leches to our meal.

Not really a birthday.  Unless you consider it our marriage's birthday.
The tres leches was an unexpected, but pleasant surprise end to our dinner.  As far as tres leches cakes go, it was above average.  It was also a very good portion size.  After having such a big meal, the cake was a perfect size for sharing with another person.  My wife and I both got a taste, but it was not so much that we would feel sick after eating.

Tango & Malbec left a good impression with me.  I enjoyed the food and the atmosphere and would definitely return.  Given the possible hefty price tag, this will not be a place in heavy rotation of our favorite places to eat, but it will always come into consideration for special occasion meals.

Tango and Malbec on Urbanspoon

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